Saturday, January 26, 2008

Can you shop only once a week?

Well, I can, and I do as much as possible. Why? Here's my reasons:

  • Less impulse spending
  • Less time wasted in extra trips
  • Easier to keep my budget and receipts organized
  • I can plan ahead
  • I take inventory before I go and know exactly what I need for the week
  • It's fewer times to drag my little kids through the store
  • It's easier to plan one big trip a week and block out that time
In short, it's cheaper and more effective!

How do I do it? I prepare a menu before I go to force myself to plan what I will need for each meal. I look through my fridge and pantry and note what I already have, and what I am out of. From experience I anticipate how much cereal, crackers, snacks etc. my family will need for the week and I add what is needed to my list.

I also try to be general where possible. I may not know what fruit is in season or what meat is on sale this week, so I leave myself some wiggle room. I may put "Fruit, 4 pieces" or something to that extent.

Now there's a couple things you can do to help yourself not run out of unexpected things. I like to have several cake mixes, pudding mixes etc for last minute "Could you bring a desert?" situations, or times when my hubby is craving something sweet. I try not to buy chips very often, but I like having a good supply of healthy crackers on hand for snacking emergencies etc. I also keep my baking supplies well stocked, and I TRY to keep a good amount of canned goods. I pay attention to how many eggs, sticks of butter, and the like, that I have so that I can plan my meals using up what I have, but not running out before I go to the store again next week. I also try to just buy the fresh things that I will use that week. Wast because of spoilage is not thrifty!